Monday, July 12, 2010

Omran will live in our hearts.

We were leaving on Monday morning. Mike had left to northern Minnesota for a few days to work for a company that disassembles and fixes the log houses.
The time we spent on Anathoth Farm was too short, and I wished we could stay a bit longer. From all the stories we heard from Mike , there was one that had taken a huge place in my heart.
It's a story about Omran.

Omran was a ten year old Iraqi boy. He and his family lived on the farm and tried to make the best out of life in the times of sanctions. One day he and a few of his friends were out on the pasture, taking care of the animals. And then, before they knew it, their lives had changed forever. But Omran's live was not changed, it was stolen from him in an ugly way. In 1999 Omran was killed by an American bomber who had just decided to drop a few bombs on the farm.

It might sound like an accident and you might ask "why Omran?", "why not other boy or a girl out of 3,000 that had been dying day in and day out?". And that was exactly why. For some people it is hard to comprehend the vastness of tragedy when the numbers are just that, the statistics. The story of Omran represents all the innocent children that had died, or got injured, or crippled for no reason what so ever.

Mike and Barb had raised the money and purchased an old school bus. The bus was then decorated with kids' art work and transformed into a peace celebrating tool. This bus was on a 10 year tour. For a few months out of a year, the bus was going from school to school, from one college to another. Mike would talk about Omran and bring awareness about importance of peace on Earth to young people in the US.

Three years after Omran's death and the tremendous success of the Omran's Peace Bus, it seemed like it was an urgent need to try to get Omran's photo. They didn't have it, so Mike went to Iraq to meet with Omran's family.

The family was still mourning Omran's death. His mother hadn't talked for 6 months since he was killed. Since Omran's older brother became a spokes person on behalf of the family, he was the first one to meet with Mike and see the scrapbook album with the pictures, newspaper clippings, people messages, and was astonished to see what had been accomplished in Omran's name.

When Mike was telling us about how Omran's mother came to Mike, holding in her hands the only black and white small photo of her son Omran, kissed the photo and gave it to Mike, we all had tears rolling down our faces and all I wanted was to run into the woods and sob.

Then as Mike was recalling, Omran's father and him were sitting outside, in front of their house, talking about farming in the US and Iraq.

When Mike came back to the US, Omran's picture was enlarged and then displayed on the bus for all to see. His face, his eyes were as powerful as could be. If you looked into his eyes, you could never forget him and other millions of children whose young lives were cut short by unnecessary violence. The story of Omran represents all the children that are suffering right now. What can we do, how can we help?


Post a Comment